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Career-Life Times, Issue #13 -- What Makes You Happy?
February 11, 2005
Welcome to the latest issue of CAREER-LIFE TIMES! I hope you find this little publication to be informative, useful and entertaining!
If you don't like it, there's an unsubscribe link at the end. And if you have any ideas on how I can improve it, please let me know--I greatly value your suggestions! My email address is also at the end.
* The 20 Best Companies to Work For
The January 24, 2005 issue of Fortune magazine lists their ranking of the 100 best companies to work for. I've included the top 20 below. For the complete list, go to Fortune.com.
1. Wegmans Food Markets
Last year's #1 company was J.M. Smucker. It, and Microsoft (ranked 57th this year) are among 22 companies that have made the Top 100 list every year since its 1998 inception.
Fortune based its ranking on their evaluation of each company's policies and culture; and on the opinions of the company's own employees. Important factors were job satisfaction, pay and benefits (such as retirement plans, health coverage, paid time off), and low turnover.
Check out the list and do some research. If you're looking for a new job, you might as well try to get hired by one of the best companies in the country!
If you're feeling dissatisfied at work and think a bigger paycheck is your key to happiness, you better think again.
According to studies done by the Templeton Foundation in England, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., and the University of Illinois, once your basic needs are met, having more money does little to make you more satisfied with your life.
What does make most people happiest? Spending time with family and friends, and contributing to the lives of others.
The two biggest things that lower people's happiness levels? Losing a spouse, and losing a job.
If you're feeling low, here are five steps you can take to lift your mood:
1. Be thankful for the things that bring you joy. Make a list, and add to it continuously. Include insignificant things (a delicious cup of coffee in the morning) and important things (a parent's recovery from an illness).
2. Be kind. I've seen this on a bumper sticker: "Practice Random Acts of Kindness." Include both random and planned acts of kindness. Whether it's helping a stranger to pick up a bag of dropped groceries, or treating a friend to lunch, it'll make you feel good to be kind to others.
3. Thank someone. Whether their deed was big or small, show gratitude when someone has helped you. It'll make you feel good to say them, and make them feel good to hear them--the two magic words, "Thank you!" (Of course, it goes without saying that you should thank people after a job interview, right? See the article, "Thoughtful Thank-Yous," below.)
4. Get rid of the grudge. It's impossible to go through life and never get your feelings hurt. But becoming angry, holding a grudge or dwelling on feelings of resentment only make things worse. Think about it--do you enjoy feeling angry or upset? Even if the person who wronged you never apologizes, forgive him/her. Get over it and move on.
5. Spend more time with family and friends. As previously mentioned, this is what makes most of us happiest. (I think you can count pets in this category, as well.) You've probably heard that a man on his deathbed will not be thinking, "I wish I'd spent more time at work." Get your priorities straight and you'll be much happier. So will your family and friends!
The successful job search all boils down to one word -- synergy.
Synergy is defined as "the interaction of two or more agents so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects."
Synergy explains the difference between John, Paul, George and Ringo (individual musicians) and The Beatles (a magical combination).
Most job seekers apply for positions haphazardly--sending out an email resume for this opening, a printed resume for that one, sometimes following up and most often not.
But you'll get far better results--and create synergy--if you first write out a job search calendar, to schedule your efforts over the next 60-90 days. Then, follow your plan and systematically use as many tactics as possible for each job you apply for. Organizing your efforts this way will focus your job search, like sunlight through a magnifying glass.
Here's how to create synergy and job search magic, in 5 easy steps.
Step 1 -- Choose your target job You can do so by picking a job title (example: Sales Manager) or skill set to shoot for (example: sales, marketing, management). No target job = no results in your job search. Because you can't score if you don't have a goal.
Step 2 -- Choose your tactics There are many. Among the most effective is networking with your personal and professional contacts. Let people know you're in the job market and tell them what you're looking for. Then ask this question: "Who do you know that I should be talking to?" This one question can double or triple the size of your network. Other job hunting tactics include submitting your resume to online job postings, the newspaper classifieds, recruiters and temp agencies. But try to spend 80% of your time networking.
Step 3 -- Plan your work Create a job search calendar. Any calendar will do, so long as there's room to write brief notes for each day. Map out the next 30-90 days with specific goals for every day, such as visiting 5 web sites, calling 10 networking contacts and mailing 7 resumes. Post your job search calendar prominently. Then ...
Step 4 -- Work your plan Devote at least 3-5 hours a day to your job search if you're currently employed, and 5-8 hours a day if you're unemployed. Recognize that your job search is a job in itself, the most important one you have right now. And that means you look for work EVERY day, Monday through Friday. Because just one day skipped per week equals a 20% loss in output. You can't afford that.
Step 5 -- Fail your way to a new job As you follow your job search plan and contact all those people every day, you're going to hear one word more than any other: "No." Learn to embrace failure like Thomas Edison, who "failed" 10,000 times before inventing the light bulb. He said: "Every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." Every "no" you hear in your job search is another step closer to the one "yes" you need to get that position you really want. It's simply a numbers game. Take heart in this fact.
By following this five-step formula, you can create synergy, magic and the job offer you're dreaming about.
Copyright © 2004 by Kevin Donlin, of Guaranteed Résumés, a Minneapolis-based résumé service. Since 1995, Guaranteed Résumés has provided résumés, Internet résumés, cover letters and job searches for clients in 44 states and 23 countries. For more information: GreatResumes.com
I see these questions asked over and over in the Monster.com Interviewing Tips discussion forum: "Should I send separate thank-you notes to everyone who interviewed me? Can I just send one thank-you note to the hiring manager and ask him/her to thank others involved in the process?"
The answers are yes and no, respectively.
Send a separate thank-you note to everyone who interviewed you, whether it was an informal pre-interview phone call, an interview lunch meeting, or the final formal interview after a lengthy process.
Don't be stingy with your thank yous!
It's an easy thing to do, it will only take a few minutes--and it will make the recipients feel good about you! Why wouldn't you jump at the chance to do that?
You can make your thank-you notes relatively short. They can be sent via snail-mail or email.
(There are differing opinions on which is best. I prefer the now "special" touch of a real letter over the routine method of email; others think email is best because it's faster. Just remember that what you say is more important than how you send it.)
Make each thank-you note slightly different by mentioning something in particular that you and the recipient discussed. This is a good reason to do your thank-you notes right away, while the interview is fresh in your mind. You might even want to take notes for this purpose.
Here's a great tip that will really impress the hiring manager: add a P.S. that mentions how helpful someone was, by name. I'm not talking about people directly involved in the interviews; they should get their own thank-you notes. But if there was a receptionist, an administrative assistant, or someone else who was helpful during your interview process, say so. Those people are rarely recognized, but may have influence with the hiring manager. The boss will think of you as someone who appreciates his team, notices things most other people overlook, and goes the extra mile.
Why make this a P.S.? Studies show that most people read the P.S. before (or even instead of) reading the main body of a letter. This P.S. will get attention and impress the reader, which will get your entire letter read and your thoughtfulness remembered!
Many workers think that their hard work will speak for itself. They quietly do their job and stay late at the office hoping that their boss will notice their efforts. However, when a job promotion or pay raise goes to someone else, many employees retreat into a corner, wondering what happened.
Many don't realize that talking about your accomplishments in a confident way is the best way to get ahead in your career. Promoting yourself at work doesn't need to be shameless and you don't have to brag.
Instead, you need to develop a savvy approach to self-promotion so you can get ahead in your career. Being able to effectively toot your horn without blowing the wrong tune can only happen if you avoid these four common mistakes.
1. Don't piggy-back off a tragic event to launch your self-promotion campaign
The recent tsunami that decimated 11 countries in South Asia is an extremely tragic event. To date, over $2-billion has been donated world wide to help the victims of this cataclysmic event.
However, it’s getting to a point where the publicity surrounding who's giving gets more attention than the people who lost their homes, belongings and family members. Celebrities, companies and even countries are taking this opportunity to boast about the amount of money they have donated. Some companies are even buying full page ads in newspapers just to show what they're doing to help.
While Hollywood and Fortune 500 choose this time to brag about their contributions, this approach lacks dignity, tact and modesty. Don't make this mistake with your career. If your company just lost a major customer and is now facing a lawsuit for breach of contract, it's not the time to brag about a new process you developed while working with that customer. That shows poor timing on your part and you will look bad in front of your boss and colleagues.
2. Don't brag by putting down the competition
On last season's "The Apprentice," one contestant, Ivana, was the project manager of a losing team. As she was making her case in front of Donald Trump as to why she should not be fired, instead of focusing on her strengths, she started to bad mouth another contestant. What made Ivana's comments so bizarre is that she focused on someone who wasn't even on the same team as she was. Incidentally, Donald Trump didn't look too highly on Ivana's comments and he fired her with little hesitation.
Saying negative things about a co-worker may make you feel good, but this approach does little to raise your profile at work. When you do this, you appear to be uncomfortable with your own accomplishments. Instead, develop a 30-second commercial about what you do well. That way, you focus on your triumphs and resist the temptation of making your co-worker look bad.
3. Never include cheating in your self-promotion campaign
Remember Enron, WorldCom and the adventures of media tycoon, Conrad Black? All these people cheated in order to gain success. Despite the fact that he was being investigated for diverting company money to his own pocket, Black was outraged and claimed that people should be thanking him for creating so many jobs, not spending their energy accusing him of stealing.
The things you do at work may not include being investigated by the Securities & Exchange Commission, but there are some activities you may be doing right now that undermines your company's bottom line.
Whether you take office supplies home from your company's stock room, take a two-hour lunch or overcharge your company for gas on your expense report, these actions are all dishonest.
You'll make enemies at work very fast if you gloat about your dishonest deeds in the lunch room.
Plus, this is a sure fire way to bring your career to a grinding halt as no one wants to work with a cheater.
4. Don't over-brag
There's a business woman I met recently. I had read her book and I attended a few of her teleclasses. When I heard she'd be in my city on business, I immediately sent an email requesting we meet for coffee.
We met and I immediately regretted it. You see, this business woman spoke endlessly about herself for the entire 30-minutes. Here I was, one of her biggest fans and most loyal customers, and my idol boasted about her product line and how much money she was making. This business women didn't take any time to listen to me and I never bought anything from her web site again.
It's important to let others know about your achievements, but don't do this at the expense of bad manners. Find the balance. Know when it's appropriate to talk about your accomplishments and when you should hold your tongue. A good self-promoter knows the value of listening to others.
This skill can work wonders for your career.
The way for you to advance in your career rests in your ability to self-promote. If you won't talk about your achievements, don't expect anyone else to do so, but remember that your goal is to be savvy in your approach and leave the brainless techniques for someone else.
Copyright © 2005 by Leesa Barnes. Leesa is a career strategist and coach who helps business women become dynamic leaders at work using the art of savvy self-promotion. Find out how you can gain more recognition at work by visiting SaviaLane.com.
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another opens; but often we
look so long at the closed door
that we do not see the one
which has been opened for us."
Joe and Mary both get a chance to start a job. They are level in all fields so the manager decides to give them a written test. He jots down 10 questions a sheet of paper, gives them both a copy and says "You've got 10 minutes, then I'll be back to grade your answers."
He leaves the room and the applicants get to work.
The manager returns, collects the sheets, glances through them and says, "Sorry Mary, but Joe's got the job".
Mary protests, "Why? Did Joe score higher than me?"
"No," replies the manager, "You both got 9 out of 10 correct."
Mary, suspecting discrimination against a woman, asks, "So why are you picking Joe?"
"Well, it's question number 7," the manager says. "Joe answered 'I don't know.' You answered,
'Neither do I'."
Cell Phone Courtesy. I'm sure you've already heard complaints about people talking loudly on their cell phones in a public place, perhaps while you're trying to enjoy a quiet, romantic dinner in your favorite restaurant. I'm not going to rant about that here.
What really bothers me is how cell phone users often ignore common courtesy at work.
It's very annoying and distracting when you're in a meeting or giving a presentation and someone's cell phone rings. You can't rely on everyone to automatically do the right thing, so if you're giving a meeting or presentation, post a sign that says "Phone ringers off, please!"
Just about every phone has a silent vibrator function, so no one need miss an important call.
But here's the other thing that bothers me. People who do turn their phone ringers off during a meeting, but answer the call even if it's unimportant. Usually it's only the boss who can get away with this. He'll feel the vibration, look at the display, and say "Excuse me, this will only take a minute," and then start chatting with his wife about a piece of furniture she wants to buy, while you and your coworkers sit there wasting your time, waiting for the call to end. Saying "Excuse me" is no excuse for being rude and showing disrespect for your employees!
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